Probe Uncovers Rampant Sexual Abuse by WHO Officials in Congo
World Health Organization officials and contractors engaged in widespread sexual abuse while responding to an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, an independent probe has found.
Investigators logged 84 incidents of abuse, including nine of rape, and identified 83 alleged perpetrators, some of whom were doctors and consultants directly employed by the WHO, according to a WHO-commissioned investigation released on Tuesday. The alleged victims, 29 of whom became pregnant, were promised jobs in exchange for sexual favors, or were exploited under threat of being fired, it said.
WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus apologized to the victims and pledged to take personal responsibility for implementing changes. Four perpetrators who are still employed by the WHO will be fired, and all those found to have engaged in wrongdoing will be banned from working there again, he said.
“This is a dark day for the WHO but by shining a light on the failures of individuals and the organization, we hope that the victims feel that their voices have been heard and acted on,” Tedros said. “We want the perpetrators to know there will be severe consequences for their actions.”
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